A Transient's Paradox
Installation: Video, Sound, Vessels, and Wires, 2022
As a woman and a Middle Easterner living in the United States, navigating through the areas once forbidden or unfamiliar to me, sound and soil represent autochthonous knowledge and values of a place. They urge me to explore its human geography, past and present.
As a new citizen, sound became the immersive celebration of movement that I had achieved; however, the year 2018 and the policy of the Muslim travel ban extinguished that exuberance and replaced it with deepening anxiety. So, I turned to the collection of soil as a method to capture the essence of a place beyond its ephemerality. Sound is the vibrancy of the air above the ground. Without air, there can be no sound. Like the clay body drawn from soil, sound is drawn from air, but harder to preserve. We need memory to maintain it. Soil is the repository of answers waiting to be unearthed. I discovered I could explore a place in terms of its past and present through the solidity of its clay and the transience of its sound.
ceramic vessels in the installation, each made of clay from a different locale, are a record of where I have been and who I am. Collectively, they represent both an estranged and a promised land. Not everyone who wanders is a traveler; not everyone who resides is native.
I travel not to find but to lose myself, to become a body among thousands, a body in action and motion, pursuing permanence, acknowledging fragility.
Images courtesy of the Ground for Sculpture Museum